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From: Sam8/18/2017 1:08:25 PM
   of 176
 
Forget Amazon. Here's the real reason retail stocks are slumping

VITALIY KATSENELSON
Special to The Globe and Mail
Updated: 3 days ago August 14, 2017
beta.theglobeandmail.com;

Retail stocks have been annihilated recently, despite the economy eking out growth. The fundamentals of the retail business look horrible: Sales are stagnating and profitability is getting worse with every passing quarter.

Jeff Bezos and Amazon get most of the credit, but this credit is misplaced. Today, online sales represent only 8.5 per cent of total retail sales. Amazon, at $80-billion (U.S.) in sales, accounts only for 1.5 per cent of total U.S. retail sales, which at the end of 2016 were around $5.5-trillion. Although it is human nature to look for the simplest explanation, in truth, the confluence of a half-dozen unrelated developments is responsible for weak retail sales.

Consumption needs and preferences have changed significantly. Ten years ago, people spent a pittance on cellphones. Today, Apple sells about $100-billion worth of i-goods in the United States, and about two-thirds of those sales are iPhones. Apple's U.S. market share is about 44 per cent, thus the total market for smart mobile phones in the United States is $150-billion a year. Add spending on smartphone accessories (cases, cables, glass protectors, etc.) and we are probably looking at $200-billion total spending a year on smartphones and accessories.

Ten years ago (before the introduction of the iPhone), smartphone sales were close to zero. Nokia was the king of dumb phones, with U.S. sales of $4-billion in 2006. The total dumb-cellphone-handset market in the United States in 2006 was probably closer to $10-billion.

Consumer income has not changed much since 2006, thus over the past 10 years, $190-billion in consumer spending was diverted toward mobile phones.

It gets more interesting. In 2006, a cellphone was a luxury only affordable by adults, but today 7-year-olds have iPhones. Phone bills per household more than doubled over the past decade. Not to bore you with too many data points, but Verizon Wireless' revenue in 2006 was $38-billion. Fast-forward 10 years and it is $89-billion – a $51-billion increase. Verizon's market share is about 30 per cent, thus the total spending increase on wireless services is close to $150-billion.

Between phones and their services, this is $340-billion that will not be spent on T-shirts and shoes.

But we are not done. In the United States, the combination of health-care inflation in the mid-single digits and the proliferation of high-deductible plans has increased consumers' direct health-care costs and further chipped away at discretionary dollars. U.S. health-care spending is $3.3-trillion, and just 3 per cent of that figure is almost $100-billion.

Then there are soft, hard-to-quantify factors. Millennials and millennial-want-to-be generations (speaking for myself here) do not really care about clothes as much as people may have 10 years ago. After all, high-tech billionaires wear hoodies and flip-flops to work. Lack of fashion sense did not hinder their success, so why should the rest of us care about the dress code?

In the 1990s, casual Fridays were a big deal – yippee, we could wear jeans to work! Fast-forward 20 years, and every day is casual. Suits? They are worn to job interviews or to impress old-fashioned clients. Consumer habits have slowly changed, and we now put less value on clothes (and thus spend less money on them) and more value on having the latest iThing.

All this brings us to a hard and sad reality: The United States is over-retailed. It simply has too many stores. Americans have four or five times more square footage per capita than other developed countries. This bloated square footage was created for a different consumer, the one who, in the 1990s and 2000s, was borrowing money against the house and spending it at the local shopping mall.

Today's post-Great Recession consumer is deleveraging, paying off debt, spending money on new necessities such as mobile phones and paying more for the old ones such as health care.

Yes, Amazon and online sales do matter. Ten years ago, only 2.5 per cent of retail sales took place online, and today that number is 8.5 per cent – about a $300-billion change. Some of these were captured by bricks-and-mortar online sales, some by e-commerce giants like Amazon and some by brands selling directly to consumers.

But as you can see, online sales are just one piece of a very complex retail puzzle. All the aforementioned factors combined explain why, when gasoline prices declined by almost 50 per cent (gifting consumers with hundreds of dollars of discretionary spending a month), retailers' profitability and consumer spending did not flinch – those savings were more than absorbed by other expenses.

Understanding that online sales (when we say this we really mean Amazon) are not the only culprit responsible for horrible retail numbers is crucial in the analysis of retail stocks. If you are only looking at "who can fight back the best against Amazon?" you are solving only one variable in a multivariable problem: Consumers' habits have changed; the United States is over-retailed; and consumer spending is being diverted to different parts of the economy.

As value investors, we are naturally attracted to hated sectors. However, we demand a much greater margin of safety from retail stocks, because estimating their future cash flows (and thus fair value) is becoming increasingly difficult. Warren Buffett has said that you want to own a business that can be run by an idiot, because one day it will be. A successful retail business in today's world cannot be run by by an idiot. It requires Bezos-like qualities: being totally consumer-focused, taking risks, thinking long term.

Vitaliy Katsenelson, CFA, is chief investment officer at Investment Management Associates in Denver, Colo. He is the author of Active Value Investing and The Little Book of Sideways Markets. His strategy for investing in an overvalued stock market is spelled out in this article.

The author does not own or hold short positions in Amazon. His firm owns a position in Apple

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From: Sam8/22/2017 11:28:01 AM
   of 176
 
the1a discussion of sugar.

Tuesday, Aug 22 2017 • 11 a.m. (ET)
The Sugar Story: A Spoonful Of Addiction Makes The Profits Go Up?
the1a.org

Our decisions about what to eat are driven by much more than hunger. Social trends, agricultural science and multimillion-dollar industries can make certain vegetables hip or carbs passé, while concerns for overall health sit on the sidelines.

One of the major food trends of the last half-century was the movement away from fat. But, research published last year found that the fight against fat was fueled in part by sugar interests. As the New York Times reports:

The documents show that a trade group called the Sugar Research Foundation, known today as the Sugar Association, paid three Harvard scientists the equivalent of about $50,000 in today’s dollars to publish a 1967 review of research on sugar, fat and heart disease. The studies used in the review were handpicked by the sugar group, and the article, which was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, minimized the link between sugar and heart health and cast aspersions on the role of saturated fat.

Now, with the research in doubt, with diabetes and obesity rates high and with questions rising about whether sugar is addictive, more and more people are turning away from a decades-long sugar habit.

Guests

Gary Taubes Author of "The Case Against Sugar;" Science writer; @garytaubes

Michael Moss Author of "Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us;" former investigative reporter for The New York Times; @MichaelMossC

Courtney Gaine PhD, RD President and CEO, the Sugar Association in Washington, DC

Related Links

There’s a Sugar Shock Ahead, in a World That’s Eating Smarter – Bloomberg
50 Years Ago, Sugar Industry Quietly Paid Scientists To Point Blame At Fat – NPR
How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat – New York Times
A Big Tobacco Moment for the Sugar Industry – The New Yorker

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From: Sam8/22/2017 12:25:33 PM
1 Recommendation   of 176
 
Why do people believe myths about the Confederacy? Because our textbooks and monuments are wrong.
False history marginalizes African Americans and makes us all dumber.
By James W. Loewen July 1, 2015
James W. Loewen, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Vermont, is the author of "Lies My Teacher Told Me" and "The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader."

[There are additional links and videos in the original. I am just posting the whole article here for people who don't have access to WaPo.]
washingtonpost.com

History is the polemics of the victor, William F. Buckley once said. Not so in the United States, at least not regarding the Civil War. As soon as the Confederates laid down their arms, some picked up their pens and began to distort what they had done and why. The resulting mythology took hold of the nation a generation later and persists — which is why a presidential candidate can suggest, as Michele Bachmann did in 2011, that slavery was somehow pro-family and why the public, per the Pew Research Center, believes that the war was fought mainly over states’ rights.

The Confederates won with the pen (and the noose) what they could not win on the battlefield: the cause of white supremacy and the dominant understanding of what the war was all about. We are still digging ourselves out from under the misinformation they spread, which has manifested in our public monuments and our history books.

Take Kentucky, where the legislature voted not to secede. Early in the war, Confederate Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston ventured through the western part of the state and found “no enthusiasm, as we imagined and hoped, but hostility.” Eventually, 90,000 Kentuckians would fight for the United States, while 35,000 fought for the Confederate States. Nevertheless, according to historian Thomas Clark, the state now has 72 Confederate monuments and only two Union ones.

Neo-Confederates also won parts of Maryland. In 1913, the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) put a soldier on a pedestal at the Rockville courthouse. Maryland, which did not secede, sent 24,000 men to the Confederate armed forces, but it also sent 63,000 to the U.S. Army and Navy. Still, the UDC’s monument tells visitors to take the other side: “To our heroes of Montgomery Co. Maryland: That we through life may not forget to love the thin gray line.”

In fact, the thin gray line came through Montgomery and adjoining Frederick counties at least three times, en route to Antietam, Gettysburg and Washington. Robert E. Lee’s army expected to find recruits and help with food, clothing and information. It didn’t. Instead, Maryland residents greeted Union soldiers as liberators when they came through on the way to Antietam. Recognizing the residents of Frederick as hostile, Confederate cavalry leader Jubal Early ransomed $200,000 from them lest he burn their town, a sum equal to about $3 million today. But Frederick now boasts a Confederate memorial, and the manager of the town’s cemetery — filled with Union and Confederate dead — told me, “Very little is done on the Union side” around Memorial Day. “It’s mostly Confederate.”

Neo-Confederates didn’t just win the battle of public monuments. They managed to rename the war, calling it the War Between the States, a locution born after the conflict that was among the primary ways to refer to the war in the middle of the 20th century, after which it began to fade. Even “Jeopardy!” has used this language.

[ Why people convince themselves that the Confederate flag represents freedom, not slavery]

Perhaps most perniciously, neo-Confederates now claim that the South seceded over states’ rights. Yet when each state left the Union, its leaders made clear that they were seceding because they were for slavery and against states’ rights. In its “Declaration of the Causes Which Impel the State of Texas to Secede From the Federal Union,” for example, the secession convention of Texas listed the states that had offended the delegates: “Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa.” Governments there had exercised states’ rights by passing laws that interfered with the federal government’s attempts to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act. Some no longer let slave owners “transit” across their territory with slaves. “States’ rights” were what Texas was seceding against. Texas also made clear what it was seceding for — white supremacy:

We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

Despite such statements, neo-Confederates erected monuments that flatly lied about the Confederate cause. For example, South Carolina’s monument at Gettysburg, dedicated in 1963, claims to explain why the state seceded: “Abiding faith in the sacredness of states rights provided their creed here.” This tells us nothing about 1863, when abiding opposition to states’ rights provided the Palmetto State’s creed. In 1963, however, its leaders did support states’ rights; politicians tried desperately that decade to keep the federal government from enforcing school desegregation and civil rights.

[ The racist assumptions behind how we talk about shootings]

So thoroughly did this mythology take hold that our textbooks still stand history on its head and say secession was for, rather than against, states’ rights. Publishers mystify secession because they don’t want to offend Southern school districts and thereby lose sales. Consider this passage from “ The American Journey,” probably the largest textbook ever foisted on middle school students and perhaps the best-selling U.S. history textbook:

The South Secedes

Lincoln and the Republicans had promised not to disturb slavery where it already existed. Nevertheless, many people in the South mistrusted the party, fearing that the Republican government would not protect Southern rights and liberties. On December 20, 1860, the South’s long-standing threat to leave the Union became a reality when South Carolina held a special convention and voted to secede.

The section reads as if slavery was not the reason for secession. Instead, the rationale is completely vague: White Southerners feared for their “rights and liberties.” On the next page, the authors are more precise: White Southerners claimed that since “the national government” had been derelict ” — by refusing to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act and by denying the Southern states equal rights in the territories — the states were justified in leaving the Union.”

[ Only white people can save themselves from racism.]

“Journey” offers no evidence to support this claim. It cannot. No Southern state made any such charge against the federal government in any secession document I have ever seen. Abraham Lincoln’s predecessors, James Buchanan and Franklin Pierce, were part of the pro-Southern wing of the Democratic Party. For 10 years, the federal government had vigorously enforced the Fugitive Slave Act. Buchanan supported pro-slavery forces in Kansas even after his own minion, territorial governor and former Mississippi slave owner Robert Walker, ruled that they had won an election only by fraud. The seven states that seceded before Lincoln took office had no quarrel with “the national government.”

Teaching or implying that the Confederate states seceded for states’ rights is not accurate history. It is white, Confederate-apologist history. “Journey,” like other U.S. textbooks, needs to be de-Confederatized. So does the history test we give to immigrants who want to become U.S. citizens. Item No. 74 asks them to “name one problem that led to the Civil War.” It then gives three acceptable answers: slavery, economic reasons and states’ rights. (No other question on this 100-item test has more than one right answer.) If by “economic reasons” it means issues with tariffs and taxes, which most people infer, then two of its three “correct answers” are wrong.

The legacy of this thinking pervades Washington, too. The dean of the Washington National Cathedral has noted that some of its stained-glass windows memorialize Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. There’s a statue of Albert Pike, Confederate general and reputed leader of the Arkansas Ku Klux Klan, in Judiciary Square.

The Army runs Fort A.P. Hill, named for a Confederate general whose men killed African American soldiers after they surrendered; Fort Bragg, named for a general who was not only Confederate but also incompetent; and Fort Benning, named for a general who, after he helped get his home state of Georgia to secede, made the following argument to the Virginia legislature:

What was the reason that induced Georgia to take the step of secession? This reason may be summed up in one single proposition. It was a conviction .?.?. that a separation from the North was the only thing that could prevent the abolition of her slavery. .?.?. If things are allowed to go on as they are, it is certain that slavery is to be abolished. .?.?. By the time the North shall have attained the power, the black race will be in a large majority, and then we will have black governors, black legislatures, black juries, black everything. .?.?. The consequence will be that our men will be all exterminated or expelled to wander as vagabonds over a hostile Earth, and as for our women, their fate will be too horrible to contemplate even in fancy.

With our monuments lying about secession, our textbooks obfuscating what the Confederacy was about and our Army honoring Southern generals, no wonder so many Americans supported the Confederacy until recently. We can see the impact of Confederate symbols and thinking on Dylann Roof, accused of killing nine in a Charleston, S.C., church, but other examples abound. In his mugshot, Timothy McVeigh, who bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, wore a neo-Confederate T-shirt showing Abraham Lincoln and the words “Sic semper tyrannis.” When white students in Appleton, Wis. — a recovering “sundown town” that for decades had been all white on purpose — had issues with Mexican American students in 1999, they responded by wearing and waving Confederate flags, which they already had at home, at the ready.

Across the country, removing slavery from its central role in prompting the Civil War marginalizes African Americans and makes us all stupid. De-Confederatizing the United States won’t end white supremacy, but it will be a momentous step in that direction.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated. A previous version gave incorrect figures for the ransom paid by Frederick, Md., residents to Confederate troops; they paid $200,000, not $300,000, which would be worth about $3 million now, not $5 million. Also, it misstated the year South Carolina dedicated its monument at Gettysburg; it was 1963, not 1965. And an earlier version of this story incorrectly linked to a different textbook named “American Journey.”



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To: Sam who wrote (95)8/22/2017 12:38:44 PM
From: Sam
   of 176
 
How people convince themselves that the Confederate flag represents freedom, not slavery

Historian John M. Coski examines the fights over the symbol's meaning in "The Confederate Battle Flag: America's Most Embattled Emblem."

By Carlos Lozada June 19, 2015
washingtonpost.com


In the days since the horrific mass shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., the presence of the Confederate battle flag — on the shooting suspect’s license plate, and one still flying on the grounds of the state Capitol in Columbia, S.C. — has reignited a long-standing debate over the Confederate symbol. “Take down the flag,” Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in the Atlantic. “Take it down now. Put it in a museum. Inscribe beneath it the years 1861-2015.”

John M. Coski, the historian at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, authored a 2006 book titled “The Confederate Battle Flag: America’s Most Embattled Emblem,” as dispassionate a history as one might find on such a subject. (In its review, the New York Times said the book “brings some needed rationality to a debate driven by the raw emotion of soul injury.”) In his opening chapter, Coski examines the debates within the South — then and now — over the the flag, what it represents, and the origins of the argument that it embodies freedom rather than oppression. Excerpts:

Defenders of the flag have insisted vehemently that the Confederacy did not exist to defend or preserve slavery, and they impugn the motives and intelligence of those who argue that it did. . . . [Historian] James McPherson’s study of soldier motivations suggested that most Confederate soldiers did not fight consciously for the preservation of slave property. Confederate soldiers believed they were fighting, above all, to defend their states, their country, and their homes from invasion and to preserve the individual and constitutional liberty that Americans won in 1776. . . .

Historians and partisans in the flag debate can disagree legitimately with the logic of their argument, but they cannot deny the reality of the perception of those who suffered the consequences of invasion. If we wish to understand why many people perceive the Confederate flag as a symbol not of slavery but of liberty, we must understand that a war which “somehow” was caused by slavery (as Lincoln said in his second inaugural address) also necessarily entailed the destruction of an exercise in self-determination. . . .

Modern neo-Confederate orthodoxy not only denies that slavery was the cause of the war but posits that the Confederacy’s reason for being was the defense of constitutional liberty against Big Government. Furthermore, according to this reasoning, the growth of an intrusive federal government in modern times can be traced directly to the defeat of the Confederacy. Anti-government ideology has combined with historical analysis and ancestor veneration to give the Confederacy and its symbols exalted status as icons of freedom.

While generations since 1865 have embellished this orthodoxy, it originated in the rhetoric of Confederate leaders seeking to justify secession and win support for their new nation. . . . This “Confederately correct” orthodoxy that the South fought for independence, not slavery, rankled a few southern realists, including the editors of the Richmond-based Southern Punch in 1864:

” ‘The people of the South,’ says a contemporary, ‘are not fighting for slavery but for independence.’ Let us look into this matter. It is an easy task, we think, to show up this new-fangled heresy — a heresy calculated to do us no good, for it cannot deceive foreign statesmen nor peoples, nor mislead any one here nor in Yankeeland. . . Our doctrine is this: WE ARE FIGHTING FOR INDEPENDENCE THAT OUR GREAT AND NECESSARY DOMESTIC INSTITUTION OF SLAVERY SHALL BE PRESERVED, and for the preservation of other institutions of which slavery is the groundwork.”

After the war, a few ex-Confederates expressed similar disgust with the insistence that defense of slavery had not been the cause of the war. Confederate veteran Ed Baxter unashamedly told a reunion in 1889: “In a word, the South determined to fight for her property right in slaves; and in order to do so, it was necessary for her resist the change which the Abolitionists proposed to make under the Constitution of the United States as construed by them. . . Upon this issue the South went to war, I repeat that the people of the South had the right to fight for their property”. . . . Famed Confederate partisan leader Colonel John S. Mosby was equally forthright. “I’ve always understood that we went to war on account of the thing we quarreled with the North about,” he wrote a former comrade in 1894. “I’ve never heard of any other cause than slavery.”

Mosby, [South Carolina politician Robert Barnwell] Rhett, [Confederate President] Davis, [Vice President Alexander] Stephens, and other Confederates had no difficulty conceding what their descendants go to enormous lengths to deny: that the raison d’être of the Confederacy was the defense of slavery. It follows that, as the paramount symbol of the Confederate nation and as the flag of the armies that kept the nation alive, the St. Andrew’s cross is inherently associated with slavery. This conclusion is valid whether or not secession was constitutional. It is valid whether or not most southern soldiers consciously fought to preserve slavery. It is valid even though racism and segregation prevailed among nineteenth-century white northerners.

Modern Americans looking for this kind of definitive judgment go wrong, however, in concluding further that the St. Andrew’s cross was only a symbol of slavery. Historians emphasize that defense of African-American slavery was inextricably intertwined with white southerners’ defense of their own constitutional liberties and with nearly every other facet of southern life. Descendants of Confederates are not wrong to believe that the flag symbolized defense of constitutional liberties and resistance to invasion by military forces determined to crush an experiment in nationhood. But they are wrong to believe that this interpretation of the flag’s meaning can be separated from the defense of slavery. They need only read the words of their Confederate ancestors to find abundant and irrefutable evidence.

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From: Sam8/31/2017 9:56:39 PM
   of 176
 
The Future Of Work
By Laura Pellicer & Frank Stasio 9 hours ago

archived at wunc.org


A conversation with Vincent Conitzer, professor of computer science, economics and philosophy at Duke University, and Vivienne Ming, theoretical neuroscientist, technologist and entrepreneur about artificial intelligence and the future of work.

Computer kiosks have replaced positions humans once held at the grocery store and at fast food restaurants, and as the technology behind artificial intelligence advances, many wonder where that leaves the humble human being. Do humans have a job in the future economy, or will their role lie outside the workforce?

Host Frank Stasio speaks with technology and innovation experts about how workers will need to adapt to complement rather than combat machines. They also discuss how people should educate their kids in an AI-centric world. He is joined by Vincent Conitzer, professor of computer science, economics and philosophy at Duke University, and Vivienne Ming, theoretical neuroscientist, technologist and entrepreneur. She is also the co-founder of the education technology company Socos and the staffing industry technology ShiftGig.

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From: Sam9/9/2017 9:16:18 AM
   of 176
 
Apple iPhone toppled: Huawei takes second spot in global sales for first time
In July, Huawei became the world's second biggest smartphone vendor by marketshare.

By Liam Tung | September 7, 2017 -- 11:02 GMT (04:02 PDT) | Topic: Mobility
zdnet.com


Huawei is not hugely popular in the US, but sales in China, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East moved it into second spot behind Samsung in July. (Image: Counterpoint)

Seven years after entering the smartphone race, Huawei now sells more smartphones worldwide than Apple -- yet none of the Chinese company's models is in the world's top 10, according to research firm Counterpoint.

Wrenching the No. 2 slot from Apple is a notable achievement given that Huawei, which formerly only sold telecoms equipment, launched its first Ascend smartphone for Western markets in 2010.

Huawei is still not a hugely popular brand in the US, but sales in China, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East helped propel it into second spot behind Samsung in July, according to Counterpoint.

And it's not winning on price alone. Counterpoint puts Huawei's rapid growth down to investment in R&D and manufacturing, marketing and sales channel expansion.

The company's analysts reckon Huawei and other Chinese brands such as Xiaomi and Oppo have stifled growth prospects for Apple and Samsung in China, Europe, and Latin America by "outsmarting and outspending" them in sales, marketing, backed by better hardware.

Despite Huawei's coup, the analyst firm highlights a number of weaknesses in Huawei's current state. The company has released high-end, big-screen flagships such as the P10 and Mate 9, but not a single Huawei phone is among the world's top 10 best-selling models. Or, as Counterpoint analyst Pavel Naiya put it, Huawei still lacks a "true hero device."

Apple on the other hand has three iPhone models in the top 10, which is led by the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Following Apple's current flagships are the Oppo R11, Oppo A57, Samsung Galaxy S8, Xiaomi Red Note 4X, the Galaxy S8 Plus, iPhone 6, Galaxy J7 Prime, and Galaxy A5.

"While Huawei has trimmed its portfolio, it likely needs to further streamline its product range like Oppo and Xiaomi have done -- putting more muscle behind fewer products," said Naiya.

Huawei is also over-reliant on China, where it leads with a fifth of all smartphone sales, and doesn't have a strong presence in South Asia, India, and North America. It may be able to address this shortcoming in the US next year, with the firm reportedly having locked in a deal with AT&T to launch the Mate 10.

Still, the firm's analysts believe Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi are now as important to the global supply chain as Samsung and Apple, which has helped them to deliver more competitive features, including thin bezels, in-house chipsets, augmented reality, and better cameras than before.

That Huawei has overtaken Apple now was in the cards. According to IDC's second quarter shipment figures, Apple had a 12-percent share of worldwide smartphone shipments, with 1.5 percent year-on-year growth, compared with Huawei's 11.3-percent share on the back of 19.6-percent growth.

However, with the imminent arrival of the iPhone 8, Huawei's lead over Apple could be short-lived.

PREVIOUS AND RELATED COVERAGE
iPhone 8 could be bad news for Android handset makers

If Apple can use a high-priced iPhone 8 to offset a price cut for the rest of the iPhone line, makers like Samsung and LG could be in for a world of hurt.

Flagship launches from Samsung, Apple will propel smartphone sales: IDC

According to IDC, the upcoming iPhone 8 launch will drive iPhone shipments up by 9.1 percent in 2018.

MORE ON SMARTPHONES

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From: Sam9/12/2017 11:23:10 AM
   of 176
 
Constitutional
A podcast about the story of America

With the writing of the Constitution in 1787, the framers set out a young nation’s highest ideals. And ever since, we’ve been fighting over it — what is in it and what was left out. At the heart of these arguments is the story of America.

As a follow-up to the popular Washington Post podcast “ Presidential,” reporter Lillian Cunningham returns with this series exploring the Constitution and the people who framed and reframed it — revolutionaries, abolitionists, suffragists, teetotalers, protesters, justices, presidents – in the ongoing struggle to form a more perfect union across a vast and diverse land.

washingtonpost.com

Episodes at the link

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From: Sam9/15/2017 11:29:44 PM
   of 176
 
Why Hillary Clinton's Book Is Actually Worth Reading
It’s the rare interesting work by a politician—and it offers an important critique of the press.

James Fallows 11:10 AM ET

theatlantic.com

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From: Sam9/26/2017 8:06:06 AM
   of 176
 
Even though Snopes says that this speech is false, it is nonetheless a great speech. It is Tolstoyan in spirit.

His final words, as reported by his sister, actually seem pretty funny to me.


Steve Jobs Deathbed Speech

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs did not leave behind a deathbed warning about how the "non-stop pursuit of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me."




CLAIM
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs left behind a deathbed essay about how the "non-stop pursuit of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me."

RATING
FALSE

ORIGIN

In November 2015, a rumor began circulating on social media that when Apple co-founder Steve Jobs passed away at age 56 in 2011, he delivered a speech or left behind a deathbed essay about the meaning of life. One of the earliest iterations of this rumor we’ve found was published on gkindshivani.wordpress.com under the title “DID YOU KNOW WHAT WERE THE LAST WORDS OF STEVE JOBS?”:

“I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world. In others’ eyes, my life is an epitome of success.

However, aside from work, I have little joy. In the end, wealth is only a fact of life that I am accustomed to.

At this moment, lying on the sick bed and recalling my whole life, I realize that all the recognition and wealth that I took so much pride in, have paled and become meaningless in the face of impending death.

In the darkness, I look at the green lights from the life supporting machines and hear the humming mechanical sounds, I can feel the breath of god of death drawing closer …

Now I know, when we have accumulated sufficient wealth to last our lifetime, we should pursue other matters that are unrelated to wealth …

Should be something that is more important:

Perhaps relationships, perhaps art, perhaps a dream from younger days

Non-stop pursuing of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me.

God gave us the senses to let us feel the love in everyone’s heart, not the illusions brought about by wealth.

The wealth I have won in my life I cannot bring with me. What I can bring is only the memories precipitated by love.

That’s the true riches which will follow you, accompany you, giving you strength and light to go on.

Love can travel a thousand miles. Life has no limit. Go where you want to go. Reach the height you want to reach. It is all in your heart and in your hands.

What is the most expensive bed in the world?

Sick bed …

You can employ someone to drive the car for you, make money for you but you cannot have someone to bear the sickness for you.

Material things lost can be found. But there is one thing that can never be found when it is lost — Life.

When a person goes into the operating room, he will realize that there is one book that he has yet to finish reading — Book of Healthy Life.

Whichever stage in life we are at right now, with time, we will face the day when the curtain comes down.

Treasure Love for your family, love for your spouse, love for your friends.

Treat yourself well. Cherish others.”

Although Steve Jobs passed away in 2011, the above-quoted essay didn’t begin circulating online until November 2015, was not published anywhere outside of unofficial social media accounts and low-traffic blogs, and has not been confirmed by anyone close to the founder of Apple.

Furthermore, after Steve Jobs passed away on 5 October 2011, his sister Mona Simpson remarked on her brother’s final words while delivering his eulogy:

Steve’s final words, hours earlier, were monosyllables, repeated three times.

Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them.

Steve’s final words were: OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.

While the above-quoted essay does not represent either Steve Jobs’ final words nor remarks he made (in either oral or written form) at any time during his life, his biographer Walter Isaacson did record Jobs’ expressing regret at the end of his life about how he raised his children:

“I wanted my kids to know me,” Mr Isaacson recalled Mr Jobs saying, in a posthumous tribute the biographer wrote for Time magazine. “I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.”

“He was very human. He was so much more of a real person than most people know. That’s what made him so great,” he added. “Steve made choices. I asked him if he was glad that he had kids, and he said, ‘It’s 10,000 times better than anything I’ve ever done’.”

It wasn’t always thus. In the early stages of his career, Jobs, who was adopted, denied being the father of Lisa and insisted in court documents that he was “sterile and infertile”. He acknowledged paternity when she was six, and they were later reconciled.




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From: Sam9/30/2017 5:51:05 AM
   of 176
 
‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and Slavery
Is the legacy of black slavery enshrined in a lesser-known stanza of the U.S. national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner"? Some historians say yes.
By David Emery

snopes.com


An old controversy concerning the meaning of “The Star-Spangled Banner” re-erupted in August 2016 after NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick explained his refusal to stand during pre-game renditions of the national anthem as a protest against racial oppression.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said in a statement posted on the National Football League web site. While the NFL stated in response that it recognizes “the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem,” Kaepernick was heavily criticized via social media, including by fellow players, former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia among them:

What happened 2 being a leader for your team, your family & the young people looking up to U? Appreciating the 1000’s who have died for you?

— Jeff Garcia Football (@JeffGarciaJGFA) August 28, 2016

Others came to Kaepernick’s defense, citing what has been termed a “celebration” of slavery to be found in the lyrics of “The Star Spangled Banner:

The article cited by journalist Radley Balko in the above tweet quotes the rarely sung third stanza of the anthem (see below), noting that the phrase “hireling and slave” refers to black slaves hired to fight on the side of the British during the War of 1812:

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

There are historians (notably Robin Blackburn, author of The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery, 1776-1848, and Alan Taylor, author of “American Blacks in the War of 1812”), who have indeed read the stanza as glorying in the Americans’ defeat of the Corps of Colonial Marines, one of two units of black slaves recruited between 1808 and 1816 to fight for the British on the promise of gaining their freedom. Like so many of his compatriots, Francis Scott Key, the wealthy American lawyer who wrote “The Star Spangled Banner” in the wake of the Battle of Fort McHenry on 14 September 1814, was a slaveholder who believed blacks to be “a distinct and inferior race of people, which all experience proves to be the greatest evil that afflicts a community.” It goes without saying that Key did not have the enslaved black population of America in mind when he penned the words “land of the free.” It would be logical to assume, as well, that he might have harbored a special resentment toward African Americans who fought against the United States on behalf of the King.

“With that in mind,” writes Jon Schwartz on the web site The Intercept, “think again about the next two lines: “And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave / O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave'”:

The reality is that there were human beings fighting for freedom with incredible bravery during the War of 1812. However, “The Star-Spangled Banner” glorifies America’s “triumph” over them — and then turns that reality completely upside down, transforming their killers into the courageous freedom fighters.

After the U.S. and the British signed a peace treaty at the end of 1814, the U.S. government demanded the return of American “property,” which by that point numbered about 6,000 people. The British refused. Most of the 6,000 eventually settled in Canada, with some going to Trinidad, where their descendants are still known as “ Merikins.”

In fairness, it has also been argued that Key may have intended the phrase as a reference to the British Navy’s practice of impressment (kidnapping sailors and forcing them to fight in defense of the crown), or as a semi-metaphorical slap at the British invading force as a whole (which included a large number of mercenaries), though the latter line of thinking suggests an even stronger alternative theory — namely, that the word “hirelings” refers literally to mercenaries, and “slaves” refers literally to slaves. It doesn’t appear that Francis Scott Key ever specified what he did mean by the phrase, nor does its context point to a single, definitive interpretation.

Key originally wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner” as a patriotic poem first published in a Baltimore newspaper shortly after the event that inspired it. Set to the tune of the popular English song “To Anacreon in Heaven,” it became an unofficial national anthem during the 19th century, was officially adopted as such by executive order of President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and confirmed by Congress as the national anthem of the United States in 1931.

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